Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Two show events coming up over the next few days, firstly Alex Salazar gallery is promoting an art event here in San Diego entitled Easel, which promises to showcase 85 local "emerging" artists. I shall have two pieces available there:

EASEL – A San Diego Art Af(FAIR)
Supporting San Diego Artists
Sponsored by Alexander Salazar Fine Art
Thursday at 9:00am - September 6 at 9:00am
1040 7th Avenue, San Diego

Secondly,the event that Mark Jesinoski and I have been working towards each Wednesday, is this Saturday. Speaking in Tongues is a mash up of the best in abstract and surreal art, collecting together ten artists from two camps-one that work's primarily from the head, the other from the gut. The set piece for show is the collaborative work we have been working on, and hope to complete tomorrow. I shall also be premiering the new large oil painting-Legend.

Details as follows:

Speaking in Tongues Art Show
September 4 · 6:00pm - 11:30pm
Mosaic Gallery
3422 30th North Park
San Diego, CA

I shall be firmly ensconced at the studio everyday from now until then.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Notes from an Easel-It's a God Eat God World

When interviewed about his classic -'I wanna be your dog'-Iggy Pop once revealed that because everyone seemed to want to play at being God, it might be nice to reverse the first and last letters and be a dog instead.

Taking some license from what Jimmy said, I decided to do the same and so by entitling this study piece-'It's a God eat God world', it gives it a whole other facet.
It was borne out of some of the feelings I've had about America lately, my position in it,the whole 'I'm alright Jack, bollocks to the rest of you' ethic.

It'd be fair to say that things have been weighing heavy on me. I entertain the notion of leaving the US at least every two weeks-perhaps moving back to Europe, or somewhere I've never been.

Here's Iggy from 79 doing it his way on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Blacklist Art and Film Festival featuting the art of David Van Gough

Simply blown away last night. Blown away by the enthusiasm of the attendees, the organization of the event, the quality of art and film on display.

The antithesis of the Raw event last month in fact.

Its a beautiful venue-like stepping back in time to the old cinemas of the 1920's that would have been called the Roxy. Gorgeous gold leaf trim, ornate nouveau flourishes-perfect ambiance for the contemporary cutting edge of art house cinema .
In the midst of all my recent frenzy, I've become less discerning about my work, so its always reinforcing to hear how well received everything is also. I lost count of the number of cell phone pictures people took of my work-perhaps I should begin charging a fee.
I couldn't really complain on that front either however, since print sales were healthy.

The consensus on the Ghost series was the most marked, I mustn't let the pathetic commercial fortunes of their EBay showing, discourage me from continuing the series.

Knocked out a small study the day before too, for a piece I want to do for next month called 'It's a God eat God World', which was also well received.
Shall post scans soon.

On a humorous side note, I was approached by an old dear, who although made the comment that she enjoyed my 'oil technique', did trot out the old chestnut of wondering if I painted anything less 'dark.'

I felt compelled to remind her that she was at a Horror art and film festival.

Grand times.

The movie shorts by turns were eclectic and wonderful-the stand out piece for myself, a nine minute masterwork from Canada entitled Danse Macabre. I can only find the trailer online, but what it is something so innately part of my geography and the place where I live, that I'd like to post the piece in its entirety if I can, as it deserves to be seen.

So thank you Chris and Jeff Speed, my fellow artists and everyone who attended, bought prints and supported me with there interest and enthusiasm-you are the oil that runs wheels of my engine.
Only wish I'd have felt less absent during the event, I was exhausted.Five days of heavy painting, five nights of swarez's finally caught up with me.

I need to take better care of myself, as I am fighting a sore throat.

On the plus side,my fingers are healing and the distraction of the last month is temporarily on hiatus for a week, so I can look forward to complete tranquil seclusion in the coming days.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Head Candy-Antsy and Arty

These Wednesday periodicals with the Jesinoski fella, are becoming a welcome diversion.

I envy Mark's setup-he sleeps on a makeshift bunk, in a studio
converted from a chapel in the 'Bario'. Stretchers scattered in corners, painted canvases block light streaming through the windows, his dogs vie for a single sofa and beyond the black iron gates of his studio, authentic taco shops aplenty, served to you by ample bosomed Latina's.You also take your life in your hands after the sun goes down. Its keeping it real, and its enough space to contemplate, enough space to work. Not a single diversion beyond the hum of traffic from the 5 overpass.

So, four hours of experimental artistry, and who knows, perhaps nothing but the journey to show for it.

Blacklist film fest is pending, so too is the Mosaic and Salazar show.

The canvases will not paint themselves.

Notes from An Easel-disposition manifest

I'm a coiled spring. The last threads on a rope, one drink too many, a bough ready to break.

I'm on the cusp everywhere.
A month of toxic affrontary has rendered my nerves as sensitive as the wounded fingers of my hand.Its all just noise of course-I own nobodies myopic world view-nor can I change it. People will try and impose it none the less.
My tongue is swollen from my clenching teeth.
I've long since lost my nose to the spite of my face, but I fall further down the cracks of my own oblique obscurity.And whilst my contemporaries become media darlings, I realize it's petulance on my part, that I feel left behind.Meanwhile,ants invade my studio,like little black beads from a Dali painting, scattering in an ordered chaotic frenzy.It's like my disposition manifest.
I'm Antsy.

The work by comparison is cascading out of me like a rich, delicious waterfall. I've no notion where the forms are coming from.
It's like my disposition manifest.
And I'm feeling furious at the world-I need to stop reading crap.
The news here is a like a huge bloated worm feeding the bigotry, widening the chasm between truth and the myth of America.

I realise I'm saying this nine years post 9/11.

I painted 'Blind Liberty' like I was having a shower, except the waters are stained and brown like an open sewer, spilling oil, blood and tea. I wonder if I'll ever feel truly at home here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Notes from an Easel-Legend work in progress-session one by David Van Gough

Sunday night and letting the sublime sedation of a grand days work flow over me.

Without getting too psycho wankery about it, I am never more transformed than when I'm painting well.

David Sylvian is on his third rotation, there's a cool air moving through the studio, I've got nothing clanking around in my periphery and my mind is lilting on a hammock between two palms on a beach in the pacific somewhere.

The dark just flows out of me, like its trickling down my fingertips and through my sable.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Head Candy-the sun can wait

A week from the next show, and I'm feeling more than the burn of the heatwave.
I've never been so completely immersed as an artist-living and breathing it for ten, to fourteen hours a day-have I been faking it all this time-I don't know!?!

With all these show's, one would hope I sell something. Something's got to give.

Really want to catch some exhibits downtown this weekend-Renzo at Alex Salazar's gallery for instance,maybe even feel some sun on my face.

Except the sun will have to wait-seven pieces to nail between now and September 26th delivery date-going to be a long hot summer. Here's a song to remind me of the summers of my youth when I had nothing else to worry about except chasing girls and expanding my record collection.

Friday, August 20, 2010

And Another Thing-Support Living Artist's

No artist alive, savors the prospect of what is value hiking art posthumously.

It's a reprehensible practice-one which probably came most famously to the fore when Van Gogh's Irises sold for $53.9 million in 1987-almost a hundred years after his death.

The stereotype was truly caste from that moment-that of the artist suffering madness and destitution throughout life, until the dead bones lay ready to be picked by auction houses like so many vultures descending.

From great suffering comes great art is truly one of the biggest, most tragic misnomers that has seeped into the social consiousness...the romantic notion of the artists garret. Except...there is nothing pure in poverty.

Of course,one mustn't villify Denmark's most famous son for his wretched tale, doubtless had he enjoyed the patronage he sought so tenaciously throughout his lifetime, then he may have lived to a long and productive old age.

Art as a form is a vital entity, constantly evolving through its endless paradigm shifts of social and cultural change, often informing the latter. It's presience and ubiquity is the foundation of culture, and it flourishes and replenishes itself because of the effervescence and passions of new and fresh living talent that invigorate it.

At a time when the economy is looking down the barrel of a double dip recession, its more important than ever that living artists are not marginalised by lack of patronage and resources, and made redundant by investment brokeradges and collectors of antiquity. Art may have a rich history, but it needs a rich future, and so many artist's I know live below the poverty line.

To that end, I've been wanting to produce a logo for sometime, that myself and other artists could utilize,to best express that. This then is the Support Living Artist's Foundation.

So please use the logo on your websites, on your art auctions, as signatures-link to this page , make patrons aware and let modern, living art become currency again.

Support Living Artist's.

notes from an easel-death complex-new painting by David Gough

It's been noted before that I have something of a death complex.
Here it is then.

It expresses the way in which the mind creates a myriad maze of rationale for a possible afterlife, one which is filled with blind alleyways, wrong turns and endless wanderings. I thought I was done with the skulls to be honest, but this one presented itself in that momentary lapse between waking and sleeping, and burned itself into my minds eye. I really would like to follow through and repaint it in oil.
Though, if there were such things as miracles, then I'd consider it a manna from heaven, that I'm able to produce anything at the moment.

At a time when I need complete contemplation and total tranquility, the amount of distraction I have had to contend with of late, is beyond the pale.

I'd Entertain the real possibility of hauling my entire studio to some remote campsite, and live out of a tent for a few weeks, except the heatwave is in full miserable flow.

I anticipate a lot of late nights ahead of me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Notes From Two Easels-Speaking in tongues, session one collaboration between David Gough and Mark Jesinoski

Add ImageMajor exciting day in which myself and Mark Jesinoski collaborated on two panels consecutively as a project for the Speaking in tongues show at Mosaic, Sept 4.

Working side by side, without seeing what the other artist was painting, we would switch panels every hour, as a catalyst to the surreal and the abstract, to see if we could draw a balance between the two pieces.
It's an odd dichotomy,akin to marking your territory on someone else's pissing ground, and I'm not sure if the integrity of splatters are always successful working blind like that, but its liberating.

I guess the closest thing to it is a musicians jam, except as the third hour turned,we began to realize the folly of constantly editing out the other voice to be heard, and will begin reigning in the endless noodling by the next session.
Here-for all their naked fumbling's, are the results of our first session.

We reconvene next Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Notes from an Easel

I'm traveling at the speed of light at the moment.

Days have been spent sequestered in my studio, high on paint fumes, melting in atomic temperatures, and trying to avoid any unwanted distractions.

The studio looks like the bloody aftermath of a painting blitz, but I can't stop, shows are pending, walls need filling, the bank account needs feeding-goddammit.

Got the bill today for my injury, at such moments I wish I was back home with the good old NHS.

The oil for 'Disintegration' is complete-It looks deceptively simple, but has been one of my most involved pieces for some time. I've been looking at it for too long to be objective about it. I'll scan it and make prints available as soon as I'm able.

Finally, I've begun the large canvas for a piece going by the working title, 'Infertile Ground'. I figure I needed another wow piece like the Valley, seeing as I am doubling shows over the next few months.

First though, there is the 'totally awesome project' I hinted at over the weekend. San Diego abstract artist Mark Jesinoski and I are getting together to work on a special collaboration for the forthcoming speaking in tongues exhibit. It's an experiment, and will be completely spontaneous, but its going to be a specially filmed event recorded for posterity, so no doubt it will make itself available in some form.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Notes from an Easel-Disintergration 2

I'm delighted with the way the current piece is going-the devil is in the detail as they say. I'm either heady on the work,or the cocktail of oil and turpentine is sending me on a weird high,but I couldn't be happier with my output at the moment.

Also made plans today, for what I am calling a 'totally awesome project' next wednesday. Its still a bit hush-hush, but if everything happens as planned, I'll post details on the day.

Fucking exciting times.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Notes from an Easel-Disintergration

Worked on laying the foundation for this one today.It took me a while to loosen up again after the two week break from oils.
My hand is doing better, but I'm still having to be mindful of keeping the wound clean whilst it heals, which means I can't brace the brush in the manner that I'm used to. My hand cramps and its frustrating.

Add the whole open guest house thing, and I'm realizing that working from a studio at home is getting old. Once October's shows are done, I need to start setting in motion looking for a work space which is secluded from any future distractions.

With that said, the first full day back at work isn't going too badly-I'm keen for the piece to dry so I can get on with the detailing, but all told I'm fairly happy with the results.

The video interview from the RAW event came in today.
Lani looks lovely at the 24 second mark, and it's got a nice kind of pop video style, and you can see how I'm trying to stay positive, when I say the words ' I'm positive about RAW' -even though I'm clearly wondering what I'm doing there.

It's more of a vehicle for RAW anyway, which is almost certainly the point, so I maintain everything I said about the event, apart from the head shot's,which were top.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Show Nuff.

Two more shows confirmed today:

Saturday, Aug. 28th 5-10pm-
The Blacklist Art and Film Festival
Birch North Park Theatre
2891 University Ave. San Diego, CA

Thursday Sept 2 – 6
EASEL – A San Diego Art Affair
Supporting San Diego Artists
Sponsored by Alexander Salazar Fine Art

** Proceeds to Benefit

Location 7th Avenue 1 block from Alexander Salazar Fine Art
Right on the Trolley! Corner of 7th and C
Open Daily 9 A.M. to 9 P.M.

That brings the total of six shows between now and November. Better get my painting skates on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Head Candy-hell in a hand basket

"Right Hand, Done by the Left Hand"
Acrylic and cotton thread on panel
6" x 8"

There really isn't anything other I'd rather be doing except be an artist. Losing the use of my right hand these last few days, made me realize that I'd be a fucking basket case inside of a week, if I couldn't paint anymore.

I feel like Kirchners Self portrait as a soldier-the impotent bloody stump of an amputated hand held aloft, a vulpine grimace as a naked wanton muse stands tempestuously in the background.

Still, I was able to knock out a piece using just my left hand today, which I've tellingly entitled 'Right Hand done by the Left Hand'. It was an interesting experiment, because you don't imagine that your ability to be creative, is so at the mercy of your dexterity.

Stitches don't come out until the middle of next week, so I'm gritting my teeth until then.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Showboat-Raw emotions

From pounding pavements, Sunday fares, back street caf├ęs, dive bars, nightclubs, concert halls, high street gallery’s, convention centers to grand museums,over a twenty year period- other than a traveling circus tent-it’s fairly safe to say, that I have done every kind of venue.

This post then, was to be a rebuke, on what I would consider, possibly the worst show that I can recall to date.

Instead, I have decided to use the time as a caution, to other artists who may want to take a similar route,and may want to learn from my experience, before committing to such a ghastly travesty.

Firstly, when considering signing up for a venue, there are several fundamental things one should be wary of:

One of the first rules of thumb for any artist is...


Why? Because once you have paid to show, there is no impetus for the curator to sell your work. I know this, its even on my website as a disclaimer, but I had yet to pay a waiver in the form of a headcount fee.
if you are required to be a guarantor for a number of people through the door-say 20 people at $10 a head, the venue will certainly be more about bums on seats and less about any artistic altruism.
If you do decide to showcase through a headcount waiver, and are told the event is RSVP only through an online ticket, ensure that is truly the case and not an event where people can just arrive at the door and still pay, or you will end up liable for the outstanding amount. $90 in my case.

What is parking like at the venue-how much will it cost-not just for you, but your friends? What is public access like?
If you have multiple large works over 30”, then ensure that there is an unloading area, ask if there is some kind of exhibitor parking discount for long duration. Make sure there are double doors, and that access to and from the venue, can be restricted to side doors, and not public areas like dance floors or poolside parties.
If the organizers have promised a 6 ft stand for you to show from, make it clear that you will not be arriving unless this is the case. Making do with bar ledges, table tops or couches is not a viable or complimentary showcase for your work, and will make it look shabby. If you get wind that you may be stiffed on this, then have some back up homemade stands. Fortunately, I had to hand, black painted trellises from a garden center, which I Velcro together; they are lightweight and can be repositioned.

If you have to use 3m plastic self sticking wall hangers, ensure that the wall surface is not covered in a porous vinyl paper, or that there is a toilet on the other side of the wall that has a constant slamming door, or you will spend the evening watching your art fall and be damaged on the floor.

Do all the lights work? How bright are they? Do they compliment your art, or are there just backlights in a bar drinks cabinet which make the subtle hues you labored hours over, dull as ditchwater? Are there power sockets and if you must use mobile light sources, are they restricted by public walkways?

How reliable and amenable are the organizers? Will there be a constant point of contact on hand to make requests and ask questions from the moment you arrive to the time you leave, or will they be elusive and disappear the moment you sign the cheque?

Will there be refreshments? Water-a snack, chips and dip? What are bar prices like?
If you are at a venue for seven hours, and are not catered for, ask if you can bring your own refreshments. If one scotch and a Shirley Temple will knock you back almost twenty bucks, then consider if you would want to inflict the same on your friends if they have already spent $11.52 admission and another $22 on valet parking.
Who is the other entertainment? DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER DOING A SHOW, IF THERE IS A DANCE DJ. If there is music, make sure that the venue you are showing at, DOES NOT also double as a dance floor... Ambient jazz beneath audible conversational level is fine, but I promise, you will not sell anything, if you cannot hear yourself over the Black Eyed Peas. If there are other kinds of performers, what will the proximity be to the art? Will people have to leave the gallery to watch the performance?
How long is the show? If it starts at 8pm and ends at 10pm, will the lights dim and will you be asked to remove your art stand so people can dance?

This is a question only you as an artist can answer-sure there is the profile on the website front page(which garnered no discernible hit spike to my site or interest in my art), photo headshots (at the bar?) and a video interview, but frankly I've had both free gratis from any venue interested in publicizing myself and my work.

Ultimately-if your goals are to party down with people who are there just to drink, dance in an expensive setting, but not buy art, and perhaps be $200 plus poorer, then RAW is absolutely the venue for you.

If however, you are like me, a struggling artist, needing to make ends meet,completely reliant on sales after investing weeks into publicizing and preparing for an event with new inventory, then you will definitely come out of it the worse for wear financially, and even possibly more detrimentally-socially.

-your friends are your reputation, and I am blessed by the Gods for mine, so do not abuse them.
Shame on RAW for exploiting artists looking for a viable outlet.

You live and learn. Onward.

Head Candy-Giving the finger to days gone by

It would be all too easy, to say that the weekend ended as it began-RAW.
I've damaged two fingers on my right hand, trimming hedges, which is ironic if I tell you that after the debacle that was Friday, I'd made a decision to start cutting back on some of the excesses in my life.

I'm lucky I didn't sever my digits completely-the hedge trimmer sliced so deeply to the bone, that the tips were hanging from my fingers.
I've been sewn back together like Frankenstein, but the pain and possible damage to my nerve endings mean I may be out of action for a week or so.

Its ghastly, but I'm thankful that it wasn't worse.
Friday-on the other hand-is a far uglier tale, and one which I will tell, once I've finished typing it with one finger.